Dear Jack Foundation’s Behind the Scenes of Breathe Now series takes a glance into our programs from the facilitator’s perspective to shed light on the ‘why’ behind the objective of program curriculum and program participant outcomes.
In our third of four Behind the Scenes of Breathe Now blog posts, we invited Dear Jack Foundation’s Breathe Now Psychologist Andrea Maikovich-Fong, to participate in a short Q&A about what makes our Breathe Now wellness couples retreats stand out.
1) What makes the Breathe Now program unique within the YA cancer space? There are very limited opportunities for cancer survivors and their partners to receive support specifically focused on their relationship, and on helping their relationship grow and thrive within the context of cancer survivorship. This is unfortunate, as many survivors identify navigating relationship changes during cancer and survivorship as a significant challenge, especially as the majority of their friends have not had to deal with cancer and so this can be isolating. This retreat aims to fill this void by providing a supportive weekend centered entirely around helping couples grow together, process what they’ve been through in helpful ways, and identify strategies to help themselves continue to move forward in a connected, successful way.
2) How have you personally witnessed the Breathe Now program impacting change? I have watched couples connect to others who have been through similar challenges, sometimes for the first time in their journey. I have witnessed individuals and couples learn to see themselves and each other in a different, more positive light, and have witnessed communication improve, emotional intimacy strengthen, and hope increase.
3) Why did you personally become involved to lend your professional expertise as a program facilitator for the retreats? As a psychologist, I have a passion for helping people who have been through difficult things learn how to not just survive emotionally, but thrive. I believe there is tremendous power in bringing people together with shared experiences, and in creating a safe and supportive space in which to share stories, share emotions, and share support.
4) What is a fun fact about you that we wouldn’t know from reading your professional bio? We adopted our daughter from Ethiopia, my husband is Chinese, and our son is bi-racial, so we are the epitome of a diverse family!